Nine Dead, 22 Rescued from Migrant Boat off Sicily
At least nine people died when a boat carrying dozens of migrants sank off the coast of the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, Italy's coastguard said on Monday.The coastguard said rescue vessels had picked up 22 people, and search operations for other survivors were underway after an alert was received late on Sunday night that a boat carrying some 50 people was in difficulty.The U.N. migration agency said the boat had set sail from Tunisia and had been carrying Tunisian and west African migrants.Vessels from the coastguard and customs police had reached the vessel, which overturned in rough seas about six nautical miles from the coast of Lampedusa, the coastguard said in a statement.
German NGO Calls on Malta to Take in Migrants
A German non-governmental organisation filed on Friday a court request in Malta calling on the government there to accept 13 Tunisian migrants who it said had been saved from a sinking boat in Malta's search and rescue zone.The NGO Sea Eye, which operates the rescue ship Alan Kurdi, called on Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to respect international law and order the immediate disembarkation of the migrants.It was not immediately clear when Malta would reply to the court filing.Sea Eye said the migrants were rescued by the Alan Kurdi on Aug.
Italian Prosecutor Orders Open Arms Boat to be Seized
An Italian prosecutor ordered to seize the Open Arms ship that has been stranded at sea by the Italian island of Lampedusa for the past 19 days with almost 100 migrants aboard, the prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.The migrants are expected to be removed from the boat tonight, the prosecutor's office said, but details were yet to be formalized.The Spanish charity boat has repeatedly asked to bring the migrants ashore, but hasn't been able to do so because of an Italian ban on private rescue ships.Reporting by Wladimir Pantaleone
Italy welcomes Spain's Navy for Open Arms migrants
Italy's Transport Minister has welcomed Spain's decision to send its navy to pick up migrants on board the Open Arms charity ship and take them to Spanish shores."I hope that Spain answers our appeal and commits to stopping Open Arms in the future with the means and in the ways it deems right," Toninelli said in a statement.The Open Arms, at sea for 19 days with almost 100 migrants onboard, has been waiting just off the Italian port of Lampedusa asking to bring the migrants ashore despite an Italian ban on private rescue ships docking.Reporting by Stephen Jewkes
Italy Welcomes Spain's Decision to Send Navy for Open Arms Migrants
Italy's Transport Minister has welcomed Spain's decision to send its navy to pick up migrants on board the Open Arms charity ship and take them to Spanish shores."I hope that Spain answers our appeal and commits to stopping Open Arms in the future with the means and in the ways it deems right," Toninelli said in a statement.The Open Arms, at sea for 19 days with almost 100 migrants onboard, has been waiting just off the Italian port of Lampedusa asking to bring the migrants ashore despite an Italian ban on private rescue ships docking.(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Pamela Barbaglia)
Migrant Boat Unable to Dock in Spain due On Board Situation
A charity that operates a rescue ship carrying more than a hundred migrants off the coast of Italy on Sunday said that it could not accept an offer from Spain to dock in Algeciras, citing an emergency situation on board.The migrants, most of whom are African, were picked up by the Open Arms boat off the coast of Libya and have been waiting to disembark on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa."We do not accept Spain as a port to go because we are in a state of extreme humanitarian emergency. What they need is to be disembarked now," Open Arms' spokeswoman said."It is unthinkable to navigate for six days; that is what it would takes for us to arrive to Algeciras."Reporting by Joan Faus
Migrants on Ship Center of Political Fight
A charity rescue ship carrying 134 migrants, mostly Africans, was stranded off the coast of Italy on Friday as a political battle in Rome stopped it from docking and even the medical conditions of those on board were disputed.The migrants, picked up off Libya over the last two weeks, are waiting to disembark on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, but far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered his officials not to let them do so.Salvini, who has built his popularity on a vigorous campaign against illegal immigration, is acting in defiance of his own prime minister and despite six European Union nations agreeing to take…
Malta to Take in some NGO Boat Migrants
Malta said on Friday it would take in 54 migrants rescued by an Italian charity boat off Libya this week, after Italy refused to let the vessel dock at one of its ports as it labours to shut down sea migration routes.However, in a convoluted game of cat-and-mouse that is pitting EU governments against each other and against the non-governmental rescue boats, Malta said it would dispatch to Italy a similar number of migrants already on its territory.Malta and Italy have frequently been at loggerheads over who should receive migrants rescued in the Mediterranean and both have closed their ports to NGO rescue ship unless agreement is reached for those on board to be transferred to other countries.A German charity ship…
EU Deal has Germany Taking in Some Sea-Watch Migrants
Germany has agreed to take in about a dozen of the 41 migrants who arrived in Italy last month on board German charity rescue ship Sea-Watch, an Italian government source said on Tuesday.The compromise to diffuse tensions with the Italian government, which had ordered the ship not to enter Italian waters, also includes France, Portugal, Finland, and Luxemburg, which have agreed to share the burden of hosting the migrants.There was no immediate official reaction from Germany or Italy about the accord which was first reported by Spiegel magazine.The German captain of the ship, Carola Rackete, appeared before a court in Sicily on Monday…
UN Asks EU to Include Migrants Sea-Watch
The UN refugee organization UNHCR on Thursday (World Refugee Day) called on European countries to include the migrants currently trapped on the rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3.The 43 migrants, including three unaccompanied minors, urgently need a "safe haven", according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) .UNHCR urged European States to call forth their principles of humanity and compassion, and to allow the group to disembark. Ten refugees and migrants were…
Italian Police Escort Migrant Boat
An Italian charity ship was escorted into the port of Lampedusa by police on Tuesday after rescuing 49 Africans in the Mediterranean, with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini calling for the crew to be arrested.A judicial source said a magistrate had ordered that the boat, the Mare Jonio, be seized as an investigation is launched into allegations of aiding and abetting human trafficking.The vessel picked up the migrants, including 12 minors, on Monday after their rubber boat started to sink in the central Mediterranean…
Italy's Salvini in Migrant Boat Stand-Off
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday he would not let an Italian-flagged charity ship disembark 49 Africans rescued in the Mediterranean, setting up a fresh confrontation with humanitarian groups over migration.The Mare Jonio picked up the migrants, including 12 minors, on Monday after their rubber boat started to sink in the central Mediterranean, some 42 miles (68 km) off the coast of Libya.The vessel headed straight for the nearby Italian island of Lampedusa but was not granted permission to dock and is currently sailing close to land, awaiting further instructions.Salvini, who heads the anti-immigrant League party, has told non-governmental organisations that Italy's ports are closed to them…
Migrant Boat Sinks Off Tunisia, at Least Five Dead
Tunisia’s coast guard said it recovered the bodies of five migrants on Thursday whose boat sank as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa.Crews were now searching for another five Tunisians that relatives had said were also on the boat that set off this week from the southern coastal community of Zarzis, the coast guard added.Human traffickers are increasingly using Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe as the Libyan coast guard, aided by armed groups, has tightened controls.Many Tunisian migrants say they are fleeing high unemployment and inflation - part of an economic crisis that hit after the toppling of autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.At least 80 migrants died when their boat sank off the Tunisian coast in June, one of the wo
Italy in New Migrant Boat Standoff with Malta
Italy on Friday urged Malta to go to the aid of an overcrowded boat carrying hundreds of migrants, only hours after the Italian president intervened to end a dispute within the ruling coalition over rescued immigrants.There have been two similar stand-offs with Malta since Italy's new populist government, which pairs the far-right League party with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, took power on June 1.Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also leader of the League, said Italy would not take in the migrants because they were Malta's responsibility. Malta, a small island nation, has generally refused to take in large numbers of boat migrants.Italy has seen more than 650…
Italy, Malta Turn Away Migrant Rescue Boat
A Spanish aid group operating in the Mediterranean said on Tuesday one of its boats had been barred by Italy and Malta from disembarking migrants rescued two days ago. Humanitarian groups have played a growing role in rescuing migrants who pay criminal gangs for passage from Libya, prompting accusations in Italy that they are facilitating people smuggling and encouraging migration. The groups deny this. It was not clear why the Golfo Azzurro, run by Barcelona-based Proactiva Open Arms, was not allowed to dock in Lampedusa. It is now in international waters. The Italian coastguard could not be reached for comment. "Golfo Azzurro rescued three people 100 miles from the Libyan coast in an (Italian) coastguard operation 48 hours ago and we are still without authorisation to disembark…
Rescue Boat Seized for Allegedly Aiding Illegal Migration
Italian coastguards seized a migrant rescue boat operated by a German aid group in the Mediterranean due to suspicions it had aided illegal immigration, the police said on Wednesday. Video showed the "Iuventa", which is run by Jugend Rettet, arriving at the island of Lampedusa surrounded by several coastguard vessels after it was stopped at sea before dawn. The Jugend Rettet group said on Twitter its crew was being interviewed by officials, but had received no information about an investigation into its activities. "Our crew was guaranteed this is a standard process," said the group, which is one of around eight humanitarian organisations whose operations Italy is trying to regulate. It did not give any immediate comment on the police probe.
Three Dead, Thousands Rescued in Seas Off Libya
Three migrants died in the Mediterranean on Monday night, a German aid group said, during Italian-led rescue operations in which thousands more were pulled to safety from rickety boats. About 5,000 migrants were picked up off the Libyan coast by emergency services, Italy's navy, aid groups and private boats on Monday, and rescues were continuing on Tuesday, according to an Italian coastguard spokesman. "Despite all efforts, three people died from a sinking rubber boat" and rescue boats in the area are struggling to cope, German humanitarian group Jugend Rettet said on Facebook. Jugend Rettet (Rescuing Youth) is one of about nine aid…
Migrant Shipwreck Death Toll Lowered
Five migrants are believed to have died when a rubber boat sank off the coast of Libya on Tuesday, aid groups said on Friday, adding that reports earlier this week that many more had been killed were wrong. Probably still in shock after he was taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa, a 16-year-old Gambian boy told humanitarian workers on Wednesday he was the only survivor of the wreck, Cecile Pouilly, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR, told reporters. When 140 others disembarked at a different port on Thursday, several identified the boy as having been on the same boat. "So we have pretty good information that this tragedy didn't occur as was initially reported," said Joel Millman, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.
Rescuers Save 301 Boat Migrants in Med
Rescuers pulled 301 boat migrants to safety and found five dead bodies in five operations in the central Mediterranean on Wednesday, the Italian Coast Guard said. An Irish navy ship recovered the five dead from a rubber boat along with 118 survivors. Humanitarian group Life Boat saved 130 people from another rubber boat. Overnight, Italian Coast Guard vessels rescued 18 people from a wooden boat near the southern island of Pantelleria, a further 11 near the uninhabited island of Lampione, and 24 more off the coast of Lampedusa Island on Wednesday morning. The central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy is the deadliest border in the world for migrants.
More than 11,000 Migrants Rescued off Libya this Week
More than 5,000 migrants were saved on Tuesday and Wednesday off the Libyan coast and 28 bodies recovered, bringing the total number of people rescued this week to more than 11,000, Italy's coast guard said. More than 20 people were reported to have suffocated in the hold of one overloaded fishing boat, bringing the total death toll for Monday and Tuesday to 50. Italian officials said three women saved on Monday had given birth over the past 24 hours on a coast guard vessel that was bringing some 1,000 refugees to Sicily. The women and their three children were all reported to be in good health. The coast guard said the 4,655 migrants rescued on Tuesday were taken from 33 overcrowded boats…
Nearly 11,000 Migrants Rescued in Last 48 hours off Libya
Many bodies found in the hold of one ship. More than 4,650 migrants were saved on Tuesday off the Libyan coast and 28 bodies recovered, bringing the total number of people rescued in the last 48 hours to nearly 11,000, Italy's coast guard said on Wednesday. More than 20 people were reported to have suffocated in the hold of one overloaded fishing boat, bringing the total death toll for Monday and Tuesday to 50. Italian officials said three women saved on Monday had given birth over the past 24 hours on a coast guard vessel that was bringing some 1,000 refugees to Sicily. The women and their three children were all reported to be in good health.
Over 6,000 Migrants Plucked from Sea in a Single Day, Nine Dead
About 6,055 migrants were rescued on Monday as they tried to reach Europe on about 40 boats, one of the highest numbers in a single day, Italy's coast guard said. A statement said at least nine migrants had died and a pregnant woman and a child had been taken by helicopter to a hospital on the Italian island of Lampedusa, halfway between Sicily and the Libyan coast. One coast guard ship rescued about 725 migrants on a single rubber boat, one of some 20 rescue operations during the day. About 10 ships from the coast guard, the navy and humanitarian organisations were involved in the rescues, most of which took place some 30 miles off the coast of Libya. Monday was the third anniversary of the sinking of a migrant boat off Lampedusa in which 386 people died.
Italy Rescues Nearly 1,800 Migrants in Mediterranean
Italian vessels have helped rescue nearly 1,800 migrants from boats trying to reach Italy from north Africa in the last 24 hours, the navy said on Friday, indicating that numbers are rising as the weather warms up. The navy said 1,759 migrants were rescued in 10 operations involving the Italian navy, coastguard and finance police, the European Union's external borders agency Frontex and the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres. The Italian frigate Grecale was taking the migrants to the Sicilian port of Augusta, where they were expected to arrive on Saturday morning, a navy statement said. It gave no details of their nationalities.